Practical Ways 15 – Solving Math’s Stories

Solving Story or word problems of maths operations for kids

Math’s basic operations addition , subtraction , multiplication and division get introduced from L kg and are introduced in more details with greater numbers with tens and hundreds value till 2 nd grade. First they begin with basic understanding of the concept , then learning to understand them through pictures of items and simple stories, number line view of the operations , words problems understanding and solving. Take it step by step one operation at a time with enough examples and scenarios but then learning to understand their differences and uses in a story or word problems

In teaching these operations more than the technical how to its important for them to develop story connection to using these operations. When and how these operations are used , the scenario , why they should choose a particular operation in a given story. For this help them follow a basic process – what is given in the story , what is expected – break them into parts if needed , how are you going to find what is required as answer :- the meaning of what is required reading and restating it and select operation to perform to arrive at the result.

At their level to be able to understand and differentiate and use these operations the basic concept , reason , meaning and terms specific to an operation needs to made clear and highlighted. In short below i have tried to highlight the basic details and ways these operations can be explained at their level and relations between these operations and use.

  1. Addition {+} – It is performed for bringing together of items of a type – things , people , students , candies, animals . In short wanting a total count , amount or number . Some words that refer to the operation are – total , sum , altogether , in all .In such stories you will always have a number of different quantities or items of a type and you need to sum or bring together these items to find their total. You can use hand gesture that shows bringing together stuff from different places together at one place.
  2. Subtraction{-} -It is performed when there is a total number of items present and some of it is used or left and you find the other part the one that’s remaining or that was unused . Some words that refer to the operation are how much – left , remaining , used , unused , went , didn’t go , removed , gave , how much longer / shorter/ heavier /lighter. In such stories you always have total number from which you need to find out how much was used , how much is remaining or left or how much given or how many went or how many didn’t go . This operation is to be performed when either you want to know what is left and you know the total or you know what is left and you need to know how many were used . Also this operation is also used when there are stories of dividing or distributing or comparing something more / less , longer / shorter, heavier /lighter.To find how much longer or how much more etc…. Use hand gestures to show something pulled out of a total or removed and something left behind, or show difference in counts or comparisons.
  3. Multiplication{x} -It is actually repeated addition of a same number for specified number of time’s . like adding up the 4 wheels of 6 cars for finding total no . of wheels, so it is adding 4 , 6 times . Multiplication is represented as skipped series example a multiplication table of 3 is skip by 3 series . So whenever the story needs you find a total but a specific number repeats itself , for adding up a number of times , to find total amount or number you use multiplication instead 4+4+4+4+4+4=4*6. In words its referred as 6 groups of 4 items each , 6 times 4 , or , group of 4- 6 times. Use hand gestures to show the number of groups and each having the same set of items. This operations is used when in the story you need a total of these items from all these groups or when same number is added in repeated manner.
  4. Division – This is dividing a total number of items equally into groups or divide them equally between a number of people. This is repeated subtraction where as you distribute, you subtract the same number/quantity of items repeatedly, from the total until you finish up the items at hand distributed completely. Division is actually forming of groups of specified number of items( set of items that gets removed each time / number of people among whom to divide) when a total number of items are given . Eg – distributing 20 balls in 5 kids , so you make groups of 5, which leads to 4 groups . Groups of 5 denote the repeated subtraction from total balls every time as you distribute and the number of groupS formed 4 denotes the balls with each kid. In a number line its represented as the number of skips in contrary to the skipping sequence in multiplication. Also establish the relation between division and multiplication pictorially with a total items divided into group and how its is represented in division and multiplication. Also their difference in number line representation .The relation between set of numbers expressed in multiplication and division fact.

Each operation has its property like addition ( x+0=x, x+y=y+x) subtraction ( x-0=x, x-1=before number) multiplication ( x*y=y*x, x*0=0, x*1=x).Once these operations are explained help them identify through mixed problems which operation would they choose depending on what’s required to be found or solved .Help them connect to the terms and language related words in stories to specific operations . help them to find the difference when a operation is needed or used in a story , when a story has more than one levels in reaching the solution. These math’s operations are used at different steps to arrive at the result.

First of all give them basic concepts and the use of these operations . Next help them work out on a process to approach ,understand and work out the story and choose what operation to perform . You can use real life example or STEM activities to explain these details or marked differences. Make sure to make regular revisions to keep the link as you progress with new operations and difference in concepts and implementation.

Check out below link an interesting article explaining embedding ELA in Math’s.